Brisbane's cafe scene is far from stale, but Bonsai Botanika is an establishment that begs otherwise, showcasing a benchmark of design and display rivalled by nothing in this hungry city. I repeat, nothing. It’s the proven potential of what a food-lover with a barrow load of cash, and the ability to capture, filter and fine tune an entire movement of foodie desires, can do with a three store, inner-city space. It's fresh, stunning, and holds a fusion of East meets West food in a marriage that would have Rick Stein giving two thumps up.
Bonsai Botanika from appearances looks like the lovechild of the Gourmet Farmer and Donna Hay - it's like something out of a shrink-wrapped, look but don't touch coffee table book. Everything is laid out a little messily, but it's messy, scattered and rugged to a tee. Walking in alone is like stepping into a world of sepia, basking in cabinesque environment and lapping up a 360 degree view of bliss, repressing thoughts of the cruel, smog laced street only meters away. The table settings, and floor plan are just half of it though. The open kitchen, showcases Ortiga-style hanging meats overhanging cooks piecing together creations, that woft from the kitchen all the way out to busy Elizabeth Street.
Their drinks menu consists of a mixture of hot and cold beverages, from the classic latte, familiar cappuccino to extra spices that will have chocolate lovers’ senses tingling. You’ve the free range to taste and choose one of their many house pouring ganaches - chocolate, cream and oil mixture - or milk and dark chocolates for the most intense or subtle hot chocolate you desire - essentially, you can tailor your chocolate and coffee experience. If you prefer botany over brew, then opt for the healthy selection of teas, or if you're hankering for something a little stronger, then become form friends with the bar, brewski in hand.
The meals, pricey and a little pretentious, is the one downfall that pulls Bonsai Botanika from an abyss of perfection. The bowl of ramen falls into a price range more than three times that of the same size bowl you can get from Japanese Bento across the road. The smells are incredible - punchy and reminiscent of a downtown, Japanese noodle bar, but that's the extent of the hype. The food is delicious, in a ramen-done-the-west kind of way, but the only extra flare lies in the presentation and anticipation, barely compensating for the dint in the bank account it's bound to produce.
For CBD eating, in café you’ll wish you lived in, Bonsai Botanika is one of those places that’s a little bit fancy, quite a bit yummy, and so picturesque it deserves it's own calendar - make this cafe your Miss October.